By Heidi Sutton
You know its officially Spring when Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, Mrs. Rabbit and the McGregors arrive at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. The adorable show opened last week for spring break and runs through April 29.
Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and the late Brent Erlanson, the original musical is loosely based on one of the best-selling books of all time, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and features all of the beloved characters in the story.
The audience is whisked away to the countryside home of Mrs. Rabbit and her four bunnies who live next to Mr. and Mrs. McGregor who spend the day tending to their pride and joy — their garden.
While Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail listen to their mother by staying inside and doing their chores, Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny sneak out to steal from their neighbor’s garden again and again to satisfy their insatiable appetite for lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and string beans. The constant marauding finally wears the farmer’s patience thin and he plots his revenge.
Directed by Steven Uihlein, the cast of 8 is excellent and exemplifies the magic of live theater. Sean Amato and Steven Uihlein take on the characters of Peter and Benjamin, two comedic roles that provide quite a workout as they run through the theater to escape the “mean as a bear” farmer.
Samantha Fierro, Danielle Pafundi and Courtney Gilmore as Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail spend most of their time looking for their wayward brother so he won’t get in trouble by their patient mother (Elizabeth Ladd) and often ask the audience if they have seen him. (“He’s right behind you!”)
Peter and Benjamin seem to be especially naughty and persistent this year and audiences will sympathize with the McGregors, wonderfully played by Liam Marsigliano and Alanna Rose Henriquez.
With choreography by Sari Feldman, the musical numbers, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are terrific, with special mention to “One More Time Around,” “Run, Peter, Run!” and the hip hop number, “Peter’s Socks.” The final number incorporates all of the songs in a super mega-mix extravaganza.
In a brilliant move, the show takes advantage of the three sets of doors from the current mainstage production, Pride @ Prejudice, which, when opened, always reveals a surprise. Costumes by Jason Allyn are absolutely charming and wait until you see the lighting and special effects!
Souvenir bunnies in various colors will be sold before the show and during intermission and the entire cast will be in the lobby after the show for a meet-and-greet and photos.
Theatre Three, 412 Main St. Port Jefferson presents The Adventures of Peter Rabbit through April 29 with a special sensory sensitive performance on April 16 at 11 a.m. Children’s theater continues with Cinderella from May 27 to June 1, and Goldilocks & the Showbiz Bears from July 7 to 29. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.